Strengthened field promises tougher battles in Gurugram
Players from Thailand, Japan, Germany and Poland have joined the field to make the next $15,000 ITF women’s tournament, being hosted at the Tennis Project, Baliawas, much more competitive.
The fact that the two champions from the last fortnight of events in Jhajjar, Tamara Curovic of Serbia and Zeel Desai are seeded fifth and seventh indicates the quality of players assembled.
Diana Marcinkevica of Latvia, the top seed, had been ousted early by finalist Sandeepti Singh Rao last week. She will be eager to make amends, even though she had the consolation of winning the doubles title with Fanny Ostlund of Sweden.
Punnin Kovapitukted, the second seed from Thailand, had won a double crown at the same venue last year, and will be confident of finding her rhythm and fighting at her best against anyone.
Saki Imamura of Japan, Emily Welker, Antonia Schmidt, Sarah-Rebecca Sekulic of Germany, and Weronika Baszak of Poland will also be keen to assert their game.
The shift from clay over the last fortnight to the hard courts may favour many, and that should lead to more interesting matches.
Credit should be given to Vaidehi Chaudhari, Zeel and Sandeepti for defying the odds and sustaining the Indian challenge against quality opposition so far. There is no reason why the trend shoulf not continue for one more week, before the two bigger events lined up in Bengaluru.
It should be another week of lively action which would help the players sharpen their game and try to climb the slippery WTA ranking ladder.
The seedings: 1. Diana Marcinkevica (Lat), 2. Punnin Kovapitukted (Tha), 3. Saki Imamura (Jpn), 4. Vaidehi Chaudhari, 5. Tamara Curovic (Srb), 6. Emily Welker (Ger), 7. Zeel Desai, 8. Antonia Schmidt (Ger).